Altra Lone Peak 2 ReviewJuly 7, 2014
- Excellent handling
- Soft comfortable upper
- Less cushioning than one would expect given the weight of the shoe
- Somewhat lacking in responsiveness
Although marketed as a zero-drop natural running platform, the Altra Lone Peak 2 is a decent all-around trail runner that can handle technical trail with the best of them. Where the Lone Peak might leave some runners wanting a bit more is in the areas of responsiveness and cushioning.
The signature features of the Lone Peak 2 are the zero drop platform and wide toebox. While some runners will be attracted to these features because of the natural ride they provide, they also combine to produce a shoe with excellent handling and stability on technical terrain. The uniform stack height keeps the heel out of the way relative to the forefoot, and the width up front provides both increased traction and enhanced roll stability. One might think the shoe to be imprecise given its girth, but this was surprisingly a non-issue. The Lone Peak also has a perfect transition in fit from the midfoot to the forefoot, so even though the toebox is wide open, the midfoot stays secure.
Where the Lone Peak might leave some runners wanting a bit more is in the areas of responsiveness and cushioning. Although the 25mm stack height certainly provides some protection, the midsole foam is fairly flexible and lacks bounce. This manifests as energy loss on steep climbs, reduced speed on fast smooth downhills, and more impact force transmitted to the runner. Runners who want more performance could probably find similar levels of cushioning in a lighter platform.
The Lone Peak 2 will appeal to runners looking for a natural ride, but also is suitable for shorter, non-performance-oriented outings on technical terrain. Most runners would probably find the cushioning to be inadequate for runs longer than a couple hours, or would look for something lighter. Also note that some adjustment to the zero drop may be required.
Comfort & Protection
The Lone Peak 2 is a bit of a mixed bag in Comfort and Protection. The upper materials are very compliant and soft to the touch, and felt almost like a soothing pair of slippers. On the other hand, the cushioning was lacking on longer efforts due to the midsole’s tendency to compress down quickly. This characteristic also reduced push-through protection, although protection in the toe and on the sides of the foot was more than adequate. The thickness of the upper material may present breathability and drainage concerns.
Security of Fit
A concern with wide toeboxes is that the shoe opens up too fast from the midfoot, leaving to an insecure fit behind the ball of the foot. This was not the case with the Lone Peak 2, and the fit was essentially perfect in the midfoot and heel. Of course this is going to depend on an individual runner’s foot, so it is something to pay attention to when trying on the shoe. Nonetheless, overall fit and lockdown were excellent with no need for excessive lace pressure.
Speed & Energy Efficiency
Speed and energy efficiency are clearly the weak point of the Lone Peak 2. This is largely due to the easily compressed midsole material, but it also felt a little
bottom heavy and hence labored during straight-line running at faster speeds. It is just not that type of shoe. Still, most shoes in this category do better in this department.
Agility and Traction
Agility and traction were generally outstanding. The outsole lugs are simple but quite effective on a range of terrain, including loose rocky single track, bare rock, and snow. The large surface contact area in the forefoot enhances traction. Agility is definitely the strong point of the Lone Peak 2, especially compared to other choices in this weight class. No it is not a racing flat, but the handling of the Lone Peak 2 on hard technical terrain is about as intuitive as it gets in a 10oz platform. This is a shoe that inspires confidence as soon as the trail starts to get nasty.
Barring any durability issues the MSRP of $115 is not unreasonable.
- Technical trail
- Runners looking for a natural ride
- Heavier runners
- Long efforts